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Diagnostic And Surgical Errors Among Top Reasons For Medical Malpractice Claims

A new report has discovered the top reasons behind medical malpractice cases. From 2014 to 2018, Coverys—the insurer that released the report—analyzed several completed medical malpractice claims. It found that the number one reason behind this type of claim was diagnostic error, which made up 32% of the claims. The second most common type of claim involved errors during surgery, which made up 25% of the cases. And of the surgery-related claims, 78% blamed the doctor’s performance during the procedure.

What Other Information the Report Found

The report broke down the types of surgeries most likely to end in medical malpractice lawsuits. They include:

  • General surgery—22%
  • Orthopedic surgery—17%
  • Neurosurgery—8%

Together, these three surgery types made up almost half of all the medical malpractice cases involving surgery. Sadly, among all the cases, 29% resulted in permanent significant damage or even worse, and 9% ended in death.

Most of the claims in the study had to do with the surgeon’s lack of skill, as 39% of the cases had this complaint. And 27% of surgery-related claims stated the doctor failed at communication and/or judgment.

Additional reasons the report found for medical malpractice cases included:

  • Leaving a foreign body inside—7%
  • Completing unnecessary procedures—4%
  • Delay in surgery—3%
  • Performing surgery on the wrong patient or body part—3%

What To Do If Medical Malpractice Has Affected You

The takeaway from the report should be that there are several types of mistakes medical professionals can make during surgery. And some of the errors aren’t made during the procedure, but before or after. Either way, patients shouldn’t have to worry about their trusted medical professional making these mistakes when they get medical care. As a patient, you deserve to feel confident that your doctors and nurses will help you, not hurt you.

If you were injured during surgery—or even before or after the procedure—you might have a medical malpractice case you should pursue. Of course, you must meet certain criteria to proceed with your case. For example, you need to prove the following:

  • The standard of care you expected from your doctor was violated.
  • You were harmed by the negligence of the medical professional.
  • Significant damages have resulted from your injury.

Why You Need an Experienced Lawyer for Your Medical Malpractice Case

If you’re not sure what these criteria mean or how to prove that you meet them, it’s time to talk to a medical malpractice lawyer. Even if you’re familiar with these criteria, it’s best to have a legal professional on your side. An experienced lawyer can go over the details of your claim with you to determine if it’s worth it to initiate a medical malpractice lawsuit.

If it is, your lawyer will then work with you to collect medical records and other evidence, contact expert witnesses, communicate with the medical professional in question, and more. If you’re ready to find out your options, schedule a free consultation with a medical malpractice lawyer today.

About the Author

Briggs Bedigian
Briggs Bedigian

H. Briggs Bedigian (“Briggs”) is a founding partner of Gilman & Bedigian, LLC.  Prior to forming Gilman & Bedigian, LLC, Briggs was a partner at Wais, Vogelstein and Bedigian, LLC, where he was the head of the firm’s litigation practice.  Briggs’ legal practice is focused on representing clients involved in medical malpractice and catastrophic personal injury cases. 


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